President of Liberia

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President of the
Republic of Liberia
Presidential Standard of Liberia.svg
Presidential Standard
Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, April 2010.jpg
Incumbent
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

since January 16, 2006
Style Madam President
(Informal)
Her Excellency
(Formal)
Residence Executive Mansion
Term length Six years, renewable once
Inaugural holder Joseph Jenkins Roberts
January 3, 1848
Formation Constitution of Liberia
July 26, 1847
Deputy Vice President of Liberia
Salary US$90,000 annually
Website www.emansion.gov.lr

The President of the Republic of Liberia is the head of state and government of Liberia. The president serves as the leader of the executive branch and as commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia.

The current President is Ellen Johnson Sirleaf since January 16, 2006.

History[change | change source]

Between 1847 and 1980, the presidency was exclusively held by Americo-Liberians, the original American settlers of Liberia and their descendants. The original two-party system, with the Republican Party and the True Whig Party, ended in 1878, when the election of Anthony W. Gardiner marked the beginning of 102 years of single-party rule by the True Whigs.

Under the 1986 Constitution, the president is directly elected by eligible voters to a six-year term, which may be renewed once. Overall, 22 individuals have served as president. On January 16, 2006, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was sworn in as the twenty-fourth and current president, making her the first elected female president in Africa.

Terms[change | change source]

Under the original 1847 Constitution, the president was elected to a two-year term, which was increased to four years on May 7, 1907.[1] Under this amendment, a new president would serve for eight years and could be re-elected to unlimited four-year terms.

Currently, the president is elected by popular vote to a six-year term and is limited to two terms.

Eligibility[change | change source]

To be eligible for office under the current Constitution, a presidential candidate must:

  • be a natural born citizen of Liberia (per Art, 27(b) of the Constitution, citizenship is limited to "persons who are Negroes or of Negro descent");
  • be at least thirty-five years old;
  • own real property valued at least $25,000;
  • have resided in Liberia for at least ten years.

List of Presidents of Liberia[change | change source]

Parties

      None       Republican Party       True Whig Party       National Democratic Party       National Patriotic Party       Unity Party

# President Took office Left office Party Vice President(s)
1 Joseph Jenkins Roberts Joseph Jenkins Roberts.jpg January 3, 1848 January 7, 1856 none
(Republican Party)
Stephen Allen Benson
2 Stephen Allen Benson Stephen Benson2.jpg January 7, 1856 January 4, 1864 none
(Republican policies)
Beverley Yates
3 Daniel Bashiel Warner Daniel Warner2.jpg January 4, 1864 January 6, 1868 Republican Party James M. Priest
4 James Spriggs Payne James Payne2.jpg January 6, 1868 January 3, 1870 Republican Party Vacant
5 Edward James Roye Edward James Roye2.jpg January 3, 1870 October 26, 1871[A] True Whig Party James Skivring Smith
6 James Skivring Smith[2] James Skivring Smith2.jpg November 4, 1871 January 1, 1872 True Whig Party Anthony W. Gardiner
7 Joseph Jenkins Roberts (2nd term) Joseph Jenkins Roberts.jpg January 1, 1872 January 3, 1876 Republican Party Anthony W. Gardiner
8 James Spriggs Payne (2nd term) James Payne2.jpg January 3, 1876 January 7, 1878 Republican Party Vacant
9 Anthony W. Gardiner Gardiner2.jpg January 7, 1878 January 20, 1883[R] True Whig Party Alfred Francis Russell
10 Alfred Francis Russell Alfred Russell2.jpg January 20, 1883 January 7, 1884 True Whig Party Vacant
11 Hilary R. W. Johnson Hilary Johnson2.jpg January 7, 1884 January 4, 1892 True Whig Party Vacant
12 Joseph James Cheeseman Joseph Cheeseman2.jpg January 4, 1892 November 12, 1896[D] True Whig Party William D. Coleman
13 William D. Coleman William Coleman2.jpg November 12, 1896 December 11, 1900[R] True Whig Party J. J. Ross
14 Garreston W. Gibson Garretson Gibson2.jpg December 11, 1900 January 4, 1904 True Whig Party Vacant
15 Arthur Barclay Arthur Barclay.jpg January 4, 1904 January 1, 1912 True Whig Party J. J. Dossen
16 Daniel Edward Howard Daniel Edward Howard.jpg January 1, 1912 January 5, 1920 True Whig Party Vacant
17 Charles D. B. King CBD King of Liberia.jpg January 5, 1920 December 3, 1930[R] True Whig Party Samuel Alfred Ross
Henry Too Wesley
Allen Yancy
18 Edwin Barclay Edwin Barclay portrait.jpg December 3, 1930 January 3, 1944 True Whig Party Vacant
19 William Tubman William Tubman 1943.jpg January 3, 1944 July 23, 1971[D] True Whig Party Clarence Lorenzo Simpson
William R. Tolbert, Jr.
20 William R. Tolbert, Jr. William R. Tolbert, Jr..JPG July 23, 1971 April 12, 1980[A] True Whig Party James Edward Greene
Bennie Dee Warner
21 Samuel Doe[3] Samuel Kanyon Doe - Liberian.jpg January 6, 1986 September 9, 1990[A] National Democratic Party of Liberia Harry Moniba
22 Charles Taylor President Charles Taylor.png August 2, 1997 August 11, 2003[R] National Patriotic Party Enoch Dogolea
Moses Blah
23 Moses Blah August 11, 2003 October 14, 2003[R] National Patriotic Party Vacant
24 Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, April 2010.jpg January 16, 2006 Incumbent Unity Party Joseph Boakai
  • Left office early:
[A]  Assassinated in a coup d'etat.
[D]  Died in office of natural causes.
[R]  Resigned.

Interim and Non-Presidential Heads of State[change | change source]

Parties

      None       National Democratic Party       Liberian People's Party       Liberian Action Party

President Position Took office Left office Party
Samuel K. Doe Samuel Kanyon Doe - Liberian.jpg Head of People's Redemption Council April 12, 1980 January 6, 1986 National Democratic Party of Liberia
Dr. Amos Sawyer President of the Interim Government of National Unity November 22, 1990 March 7, 1994 Liberian People's Party
David D. Kpormakpor Chairman of the Council of State March 7, 1994 September 1, 1995 None
Wilton G. S. Sankawulo Chairman of the Council of State September 1, 1995 September 3, 1996 None
Ruth Perry Chairwoman of the Council of State September 3, 1996 August 2, 1997 None
Gyude Bryant Gyude Bryant.jpg Chairman of the National Transitional Government October 14, 2003 January 16, 2006 Liberian Action Party

References[change | change source]

  1. Starr, Frederick (1913). Liberia: Description, History, Problems. Chicago. p. 256. 
  2. There has been some confusion as to whether Smith actually served as President of Liberia following the removal of Edward James Roye from office. However, evidence does show that Smith did in fact serve as president from the time of Roye's departure until the inauguration of Joseph Jenkins Roberts.[1]
  3. Despite the fact that Doe assumed power immediately after the execution of William R. Tolbert, Jr. on April 12, 1980, he was not in fact sworn in as president until January 6, 1986.[2]

Other websites[change | change source]